Meet Me HalfwayBy: Kim Carmody
At the familiar bellow of my boss’s voice, I pushed back from my desk and walked the few paces to his office.
“Seriously, a little volume control wouldn’t hurt. Some of us are trying to work around here.”
Without looking up, Harry nodded my way. “Shut the door and take a seat.”
Doing as he asked, I pulled out the chair opposite his, opening my mouth to reprimand him about his lack of manners. That was, of course, until my eyes landed on the two documentary pitches sitting on his desk—one of which was mine. I lowered myself into the chair and forced composure over my features. A decision on the documentary wasn’t supposed to happen until next week.
Harry looked up and, seeing where my gaze had been, a smug smile pulled at the corner of his mouth. “What? Not going to ask me where my pleases and thank yous are?”
Trying not to let my gaze drop back to the documents on his desk, I raised an eyebrow. “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
I had worked for Harry at Sports Day New York as a junior reporter for coming up on six years now, my first and only job since moving back to the city following my college days in Minneapolis. Some might think that six years was quite a long time to stay in the one position …a junior position especially, but not in New York. Not where the competition for journalism jobs was fiercer than five thousand women at the Bloomingdale’s after-Christmas sale.
That was until now, of course. For the first time, I had been asked to pitch a story for one of the highly coveted documentary spots the network had planned for the upcoming NFL season. Unofficially, one of the four documentaries—part of the prestigious Under the Lights series—was always awarded to a junior reporter on the team. It was the surest sign you were on your way to becoming a senior reporter, and the benefits, aside from the generous pay increase, were that you finally got to sink your teeth into some meaty stories. Sure, you were still involved in reporting the day-to-day news, covering the breaking scandals, but the scales tilted slightly in the other direction—more in-depth story development, less run-of-the-mill media conferences. And that was exactly what I was looking for.
I kept my features schooled as Harry continued to enjoy the silence, a rarity where I was concerned. Eventually he took a deep breath and placed his palms flat over the two pitch documents. “Bloomfield wants McGregor’s pitch to go ahead.”
I froze. “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”
“Bloomfield wants McGregor’s pitch.”
“But…” I shook my head, realization slow to take hold. “No.”
Harry sat back, crossing his arms over his generous stomach. “I’m sorry?”
“No way. That’s…that’s absurd.”
“He thinks it’s the safer option.”
“How could anything be safer in McGregor’s hands? He’s a moron.”
Whose father owns half of Manhattan.
“He thinks the story is the safer option, not McGregor.”
“Of course it’s the safer option, it’s been done to death!” I pushed myself out of the chair, the sudden burst of adrenaline compelling me to move. “McGregor can barely tell one end of the camera from the other.” Harry laughed begrudgingly. “You know my pitch is better. You need to go back in there and tell Bloomfield he’s made the wrong decision.”
His eyes widened, amusement crossing his features. “Do I now?”
“Yes, otherwise you’re just as much of an idiot as he is!” I straightened then, a flicker of recognition that I might be pushing things too far seeping through my anger. Taking a breath, I went on. “Look, I know my pitch isn’t your run-of-the-mill re-cap of some football hero’s path to glory, but that’s the beauty of it. No one ever profiles the up-and-comers and I want to show people what it takes to make it in the moment, not re-hash it fifteen years later. People are interested in now, they want to know how it all happens in 2016, not listen to some over-the-hill retiree talk about being drafted in 1998!” I paused mid-pace, which I hadn’t even realized I was doing, and sucked in a deep breath. I turned back to look at Harry, my voice calmer. “I wouldn’t have pitched this story if I didn’t believe it would work. It will be a great piece, I know it will.”
“I’m sure it will,” he said.
“I know, that’s why you—wait, what did you say?”
“I said I’m sure it will.” Harry smiled. “I’m giving it to you, kid.”
I gaped at him. “Really?”
He nodded. “Even an idiot like me can see yours was the better idea.”